The government is going to launch piloting of the online food procurement system on Wednesday (November 20) to ensure officially fixed price for growers and to eliminate middlemen.
Official piloting of the online food procurement system will be launched at 16 upzilas under 16 districts.
After completion of the piloting, the system is expected to be introduced across the country in the ensuing boro season, said officials.
A high-profile team of ICT division, agriculture ministry and food directorate will make a field visit to see for themselves the piloting of the digital food procurement system.
The World Bank-financed Leveraging ICT for Growth, Employment and Governance (LICT) Project of Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) under the ICT Division with the technical support of UK-based Ernst and Young (EY) has developed software-based application to digitize the food procurement system.
The application contains various provisions, including online fixation of target of procurement of food for each upazila and making online registration and application by the farmers as well as providing SMS notifications to the farmers to sell their produces.
BCC Executive Director Parthapratim Deb said the digitisation of food procurement system will stop the interference of middlemen who allegedly deprived the farmers of availing of the actual price fixed by the government.
He said the online food procurement system will be introduced soon and the farmers will get the fair prices fixed by the government as they will be able to sell food grains directly to the government approved agents.
Tarique M Barkatullah, who was Deputy Project Director of LICT Project, said the automation of food procurement is part of introducing Bangladesh National Digital Architecture (BNDA) driven IT Roadmap.
The LICT Project and Directorate of Food are working together to collect information and data for updating a software-based application for digitisation of food procurement system, he said.
The government purchases nearly 1.5 million metric tonnes of food – 0.8 million mt rice and 0.7 million mt paddy — from farmers during the boro season each year.
“The automation will bring transparency in procuring the food grains and help the farmers get actual price fixed by the government each year,” Tarique said.
He said the LICT Project is making the BNDA driven IT roadmap for the government organisations to develop applications as per functions.